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Grenfell Tower fire: Rise in rehoming of survivors, but minister says numbers are 'still low'

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid was updating MPs on rehousing issues following the summer recess

The number of Grenfell Tower disaster survivors temporarily or permanently rehomed is “still low”, Communities Secretary Sajid Javid has said.

Addressing MPs in parliament on Tuesday (September 5) evening following the summer recess, he said the figure has risen, but he did not want to see “anyone living in emergency accommodation for any longer than necessary”.

However, he added families should not be “forced to move or make snap decisions simply so I have better numbers to report”.

The minister said there are 196 households from Grenfell Tower and Grenfell Walk which need a new home.

A total of 61 households have accepted an offer of temporary accommodation and 29 have moved in, with 153 households, including all but two who suffered a bereavement, having had face-to-face meetings with the team responsible for offering permanent homes.

Mr Javid added: “164 households have used the online allocation system to look at what permanent accommodation is available.

“127 have expressed an interest in one or more properties. Viewings are continuing this week.

“So far 10 households have accepted offers and two have moved in.

“21 households that accepted offers on temporary accommodation with housing associations have asked for their tenancies to be made permanent, this is entirely fair and the council is working to make this happen.

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid making his statement to MPs in the House of Commons on the Grenfell Tower fire(Image: PA)

“The number of people who have moved into temporary or permanent homes continues to rise but I know the overall total is still low.

“One reason for the low take-up of temporary homes is that some residents simply don’t want to move twice and they have said it is their preference to stay where they are until a permanent home becomes available.”

Shadow housing minister John Healey urged Mr Javid to speed up the process of rehousing, while Kensington MP Emma Dent Coad said the programme had fallen “disgracefully behind schedule”.

Last month it was revealed Kensington and Chelsea Council had spent more than £6 million on hotel bills and expenses following the fire.

The local authority has also committed £76m to help rehouse survivors .

Mr Javid was cheered by all four corners of the house when he raised the achievements of Ines Alves, a “remarkable” 16-year-old who escaped the burning Grenfell Tower hours before achieving an A grade in her chemistry GCSE .

He said: “Her achievement should be an inspiration to us all.

“If a teenage schoolgirl who has suffered unimaginable trauma can do something so incredible, we in this House have no excuse for failing to do everything possible to support the victims of Grenfell and to ensure that such a tragedy never happens again.”

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